By Karen Swank
It’s Sunday morning and I am getting ready…not for church, but for work. My awesome new job requires me to work Sundays 8-4, on a temporary-but-indefinite basis.
It’s a possibility I really didn’t consider, all this long last year as I was gleefully anticipating being called into full time ministry. I have long taken it for granted that I would always have my Sunday mornings for church.
Some would say I should not have accepted a job that would require me to miss church. I’ve been thinking a lot about that perspective on my Sundays at the shelter.
I think of my many pastor-friends, and the fact that they pretty much never get the opportunity to live as “church consumers.” Sunday mornings they are “on” for teaching/preaching/leading worship and generally ministering to the masses. Though what I do at the shelter is not like what pastors do, it is definitely hands-on bringing Jesus to a place and people in need…and it doesn’t allow me to sit back and be a consumer at all.
I don’t suppose I’m the only person who ever considered all of this, but it’s hitting home with much more impact as I step into this different perspective, at least for a little while.
I’ve been thinking about how me-driven I am as a church consumer. I have opinions about how things are run…what the music’s like…what the teaching says. I have learned over the years not to be such a bawling, squalling baby when it doesn’t go precisely the way I would like it to go.
Still, I show up looking for what’s in it for me, even as I work to focus myself on showing up to give myself wholly to God in real worship and to absorb absolutely everything He wants me to see/hear/learn while I am there.
Living as a church consumer is filled with luxuries like opinions and criticisms and me-driven motives..luxuries that pastors don’t have. When is the last time your pastor could sit and just relax and worship in a service, and not concern himself with keeping everything moving forward?
What would happen if we all, each, every one showed up on Sunday mornings to be ministers of the gospel?
What would happen if we gave up the luxury of opinions and criticisms and just totally bent ourselves on worship, teaching and accountability?
What if we stopped being church consumers and started being the church?
My challenge to you today: wherever you are, take a step further away from the former and closer to the latter.
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Karen is from Aledo, IL. She went to Monmouth College and studied Latin and English. She is a biological mom of two children and surrogate mom/friend/advocate for a whole host of children. She would like to meet every wounded soul that I’ve she’s ever known… as a child, before the “damage was done” so she could tell them how much they are loved.